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Mariah Carey - Butterfly [album]

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  • Originally posted by stevyy
    in the 90's there were only a few artists which had big opening sales. and 236k was huge for her standards back then.

    The obsession with opening week sales is a thing of this decade.


    • Originally posted by stevyy
      divas in comparison:

      1. 1997 Butterfly
      2. 1998 My Love is your Love
      3. 1997 Let's Talk about Love
      4. 1998 Ray of Light
      5. 1997 The Velvet Rope
      Hell no! 'The Velvet Rope' is a masterpiece.

      I'd say:
      1. The Velvet Rope
      2. Butterfly
      3. Ray of Light
      4. My Love Is Your Love
      5. Let's Talk About Love

      These albums are so important and personal for Mariah, Janet and Madonna. It's their creative peak for all 3 artists and they deserve all the praise they receive.


      • I really love the Slant review for this album!

        by Rich Juzwiak on September 18, 2003
        Rating: 4.5/5

        With her hypersonic wail, dewy-eyed platitudes, and accompanying deaf-dumb interpretive gestures, Mariah Carey was always a bit camp. But before 1997's Butterfly, we had no idea how ******* weird the woman was. Her sixth studio album came on the heels of her split from Tommy Mottola, who, to hear her tell it, shoved Mariah the b-girl and her music into the gray area that made her such a huge commercial success. The first seven years of Carey's pop reign ingeniously and maniacally avoided commitment to one musical format, the philosophical and commercial epitome of the blurred soul that owned the first half—or make that all—of the 1990s.

        And blurry is how Carey appeared, at least early on, when what was most apparent about the woman's psyche was her work ethic (she averaged almost an album a year during the first half of the decade—an amazing feat compared to her diva counterparts). Mariah the workhorse, per the liner notes of her albums, was co-producing and writing most of her material. Maybe in a bid to be as inoffensive (hence, appealing) as possible, she sang little about the specifics of being herself and only occasionally let on about her supposed first love, R&B. 1995's Daydream, though, could have been called Caterpillar, what with its pronounced sampling and beats that actually bounced. But it came with a catch: Carey's over-emoting, her uncompromising voice that announced her music as primarily vocal and not the same equal-opportunity mesh of words and sounds that defines hip-hop-soul (looking at you and blowing kisses, Mary J.). But for someone whose mouth was always gaping, Carey was surprisingly tight-lipped, even when signing off Daydream with her version of a "**** you" to the haters: "They'll never know the real me."

        Oh, but we'd get to see a whole lot more of Carey on Butterfly (the cleavage! The bellybutton!), an album obsessed with the notion of identity and carving one out for its central character. We're greeted by Mariah the burgeoning hoochie moaning, "Oh, oh," as the album begins. Via "Honey," Butterfly immediately presents itself as an awakening, both sensually (witness the elusive, cummy imagery: "And it's just like honey/When your love comes over me/Oh, baby, I've got a dependency/Always strung out for another taste of your honey") and musically (Sean then-"Puffy" Combs bases the track around samples of Treacherous 3's "The Body Rock" and World Famous Supreme Team's "Hey DJ," while Q-Tip programs the spunky beats). Carey and her producers had sampled liberally before: 1993's "Dreamlover" incorporated the Emotions' "Blind Alley" as sweetly as possible while Daydream's "Fantasy" unabashedly replicated Tom Tom Club's "Genius of Love." Though the Bad Boy (and best) version of "Fantasy" featured the late Ol' Dirty Bastard, there was no mistaking the song for mom-friendly pop, thanks to Carey's over-the-top belting (Combs wisely did away with the album version's screechy chorus and replaced it with a melodic hook from "Genius"). "Honey" finds Carey cum-hungry (or something) in virgin territory, playing it cool (or as cool as she can) for the kids and not worrying about what moms might think.

        But not for long. The title track reteams Mariah the injured with partner-in-schlock Walter Afanasieff, the man responsible for co-writing and co-producing much of her pre-Butterfly output—not to mention over half of Butterfly itself. The agonizingly slow "Butterfly," with its predictably soaring chorus and if-it-comes-back-it-was-meant-to-be message, would have been ignorable tripe. Here, it's a show for the peeping. Echoes of her newly failed relationship with Mottola bounce off the gospelly song's cheap stained glass and then garble so that it sounds like some insane document of Stockholm syndrome. "Blindly I imagined I could/Keep you under glass," coos Carey, but surrounded is exactly how she felt by Mottola's iron fist (she has referred to the Bedford, New York mansion they shared as "Sing Sing" because that's what she did there and prison is how it felt). She even goes beyond empathy; it's as though Carey's singing what her own self-professed eighth-grader spirit wants to hear: "Spread your wings and prepare to fly/For you have become a butterfly/Fly abandonedly into the sun."

        It isn't just subject matter that elevates "Butterfly" above Carey's usual melodrama. Carey's vocal delivery and her willingness to experiment with it helped define the album, so it's only appropriate that its title track is the first of many to showcase Carey's much-debated "whisper voice." The relatively high and thin register that she sings in when not belting (and that's often) is sometimes cited as a sign of a waning vocal prowess. But it could be the most important of Butterfly's changes, as it marks the first time that Mariah the vocalist seems consistently real. She's not a robo-diva and she isn't even on autopilot. She's utterly soulful. We often think of guttural growling and belted vocal runs as the height of soulfulness (thanks, no doubt, to gospel's values, which gave us the notion of soul in the first place), but when Carey sounds almost hoarse and entirely heady, she's just about tangible.

        "Honey" and "Butterfly" together exemplify the abrupt gear shifting that appreciating Mariah the artist requires. Butterfly's pop brilliance doesn't always come easy, where detecting it depends on the audience's newfound ability to apply Carey's pop life to her pop music (the divorce shaded her in and put some real-life behind her on-record misery). Like very good camp, Butterfly requires work. Russ Meyer knew and Paul Verhoeven sometimes remembers that the most enthralling camp is that which doesn't always announce itself as such (ahem, John Waters), but which alternately winks knowingly and blinks blindly at the consumers, awarding them the decision of what's good, what's bad, and what's so-bad-it's-good. Though Butterfly does a lot more blinking, there's a similar mechanism at work that's actually inherent to all of Carey's music, since all unbearable sappiness, to varying degrees, counteracts with her extremely listenable, extraordinary voice. Butterfly heightens the effect as Carey swings wildly between emotional extremes (cool and, to use one of a few 10-cent words Carey drops throughout the album, fervid), between mushy subject matter and specificity. Carey's means may not be as astute as those of Meyer and Verhoeven, but her end has the head-spinning effect that the aforementioned auteurs ideally achieve: entertainment by any means necessary.

        Butterfly is too eager to please for it to merely settle into guilty pleasuredom. Yes, it's incredibly slow and the flutter turns to a crawl during the album's final third, which becomes audacious with a how-slow-can-you-go cover of Prince's "The Beautiful Ones" with Dru Hill. But a moderate pace more often suits Carey, who's less prone to running (thematically and vocally) to the bigger picture during Butterfly's wonderful middle. Little more than yearning, kissing, and remembering happens during the course of "The Roof," a rough-enough R&B revision of Mobb Deep's "The Shook Ones." But lyrically, Mariah the writer is vivid, sometimes shockingly clever (rhyming "liberated" with "Moet" is a stroke of genius).

        Butterfly peaks exactly where it should, with its sixth track, "Breakdown." It's the song of Carey's career, where the lyrical strokes are as broad and obvious as they are naked. The song's central question, "So what do you do when/Somebody you're so devoted to/Suddenly just stops loving you?" is so naïve and bare, it's almost as devastating as a child asking hard questions about death. The song finds Carey paired with half of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Krayzie Bone and Wish Bone. Mariah the chanter flawlessly adapts to their singsong style, largely boxing her multi-octave range into a sly, hypnotic melody so that when she really wails at the end, you really feel it. As with "The Roof," Carey lunges toward musical maturity by embracing, not shunning hip-hop. This is the height of her elegance—and maybe hip-hop-soul's too.

        The comedown after "Breakdown," and the last in the album's mid-game rally, is "Babydoll," Carey's sole stab at Timbaland-styled skitter balladry to date. No longer able to seem nonchalant about the breakup that surfaces repeatedly throughout the album, Carey wants to be smothered once again: "Wrap me up nice and tight/Love me all through the night." And here Mariah the confessor explicitly reveals what post-"Honey" Butterfly lacks: "I wanna get intimate/But you're not within my reach."

        A quiet storm album without the *******, Butterfly is, above everything, idiosyncratic. Here, like never before, we're asked to take Carey for what she is: unabashedly chaste but ultra femme; unrelentingly precious but undeniably vulnerable. It's this perceived waffling that makes Carey such a divisive pop artist (certainly the girliness doesn't help either, since femmephobia is perhaps the status quo's least-questioned fear). And it's Mariah the inconsistent that makes Butterfly so ultimately fascinating and endearing. Viewing her character from a completely different angle on the album's weepy last track, "Outside," Carey observes that she's "always somewhat out of place everywhere/Ambiguous/Without a sense of belonging to touch/Somewhere halfway/Feeling there's no one completely the same." Whether she's talking about her mixed-race heritage, her career, or both, it's the old Carey one-two, a seemingly unhappy ending fueled by the know-thyself philosophy that otherwise makes Butterfly joyous. As Carey's most bizarre moment of self-celebration, it's also a triumph, since it could only make sense coming from Mariah the person.


        • Butterfly is the greatest r&b album ever. I can play this album without skipping a song. That's what i call a MASTERPIECE. If mariah 2013 wants to do r&b,, she needs to listen to butterfly over and over again.

          my rank:

          01- Honey 10/10
          02- Butterfly 10/10
          03- My all 9/10
          04- The roof 10/10
          05- Fourth of july 8/10
          06- Breakdown(god this is what i call perfection) 10/10
          07- Babydoll 9/10
          08- Close my eyes( lyrically the best mariah song.) 10/10
          09- Whenever you call 8/10
          10- Fly away 7/10
          11- The beautiful ones 6/10
          12- Outside 10/10
          Every now and then I drown in thoughts of yesterday. And the fools' paradise that you blew away


          • Not my favorite album. I loved the first album, which is still my favorite. And I loved it when she released Emotions as a follow up. And although Music Box is not as brilliant as the first two, it does come close. I was thrilled when Merry Christmas was released and I have loved Daydream since day one. But Butterfly was the first time I didn't like all the songs. So therefor it can never compete with the earlier albums IMO.

            01- Honey 7/10
            02- Butterfly 10/10
            03- My all 10/10
            04- The roof 10/10
            05- Fourth of july 10/10
            06- Breakdown 6/10
            07- Babydoll 4/10
            08- Close my eyes 9/10
            09- Whenever you call 9/10
            10- Fly away 5/10
            11- The beautiful ones 6/10
            12- Outside 6/10
            Treated me kind, sweet destiny, carried me through desperation... Prayed through the nights, carried the weight on my own and now I know I've succeeded in finding the place I conceived... I had a Vision of Love


            • This is what I wrote in her general artist thread...

              I might previously have been wrong when I've called the album average, or rubbish.

              Butterfly - 1997

              1. Honey - 8/10
              2. Butterfly - 10/10
              3. My All - 6/10
              4. The Roof - 6/10
              5. Fourth of July - 8.5/10
              6. Breakdown - 9/10
              7. Babydolls - 8/10
              8. Close My Eyes - 10/10
              9. Whenever You Call - 8/10
              10. Fly Away [Butterfly Reprise] - 1/10
              11. The Beautiful Ones - 10/10
              12. Outside - 10/10

              = 8.5/10 - would probably be closer to a 9 if that awful reprise wasn't included

              Firstly, it startles me at how well this album flows - I've never really given the album a chance, partially blinded by how much love the lambs give it in favour of what I find to be her more superior works. But today, I did notice the near flawless cohesion of the songs, from start-to-finish. And - please don't take offence to this, because its not often I listen to music out loud, I almost always use headphones - the album is perfect background music. I can just mosey about doing my cooking and cleaning and other house shit, and the music just effortlessly plays in the background. The whispering I disliked last time I listened to the album, I quite like this time around - it works in the context of the lyrics and melodies. I think her voice is somewhat richer on this than it is on Daydream - maybe because this is her finally letting go, and doing what she wants to do? There's a nice reverberation in her vocals on the slower songs.

              So yeah, definitely more impressed than last time. In the context of her career, this is how I would rank Butterfly...

              Mariah Carey - 9/10
              Emotions - 9.5/10
              Music Box - 10/10
              Merry Christmas - 10/10
              Daydream - 8/10
              Butterfly - 8.5/10
              Rainbow - 5/10
              Glitter - 5/10
              Charmbracelet - 7/10
              The Emancipation of Mimi - 7/10
              E=MC2 - 8/10
              Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel - 8/10
              Merry Christmas II U - 7.5/10

              I've listened to her a lot over the last few days, and oddly enough, I don't think of her debut album as highly as I once did - it has some absolutely cracking songs on it, but it isn't the flawless record I used to think it was. Still better than anything she's released in the last 15 years mind! The only song that prevents me from scoring Emotions a 10/10 is The Wind which I do not like! Music Box is perfection from start-to-finish, as is Merry Christmas. I've lost a bit of love for Charmbracelet too.

              So yeah, Butterfly has totally gone up in my own estimations - don't expect me to state the same for The Emancipation of Mimi though It'll be at least 12 months before I can open my mind that much to give that album an unbiased listen


              • Butterfly is Mariah's most mature and sophisticated album both musically and lyrically.
                I give every song 10/10 because there are no fillers in this album, the videos were also on point. Also, during this era she looked absolutely beautiful and sexy without being tacky. Butterfly is her masterpiece.


                • She has yet to top this masterpiece. My third favorite album after Merry Christmas and Daydream.


                  • I know I'm a generic Mariah fan by saying this but this is her best and my favorite album by her. Masterpiece at it's finest.


                    • This is probably the Mariah album I find easiest to listen to all the way though. Whether it's her best? I dunno, it's up there for sure.


                      • We already know how epic the album itself is but girl... the cover is just flawless!


                        • Butterfly is indeed her best photoshoot! She looks so fresh!


                          • This would've been a perfect album if not for that Fly Away dance interlude. :-?


                            • Originally posted by Cless
                              This would've been a perfect album if not for that Fly Away dance interlude. :-?


                              • This is the first album I bought with my own school scholarship money. One of my all-time fav albums ever and has such a personal meaning to me. <3

                                Outside >>>>>
                                Dans ce convoi de larmes
                                Je te dédie ma mort
                                Et je saigne, saigne encore...


                                • Heaven knows how much i love this album but the last few weeks MIAMTEC has grown to be my favorite Mariah album ever..Butterfly is a close 2nd


                                  • Honey – 10/10
                                    Butterfly – 10/10
                                    My All – 10/10
                                    The Roof – 10/10
                                    Fourth Of July – 9.5/10
                                    Breakdown – 10/10
                                    Babydoll – 8/10
                                    Close My Eyes – 9.5/10
                                    Whenever You Call – 10/10
                                    Fly Away – 8/10
                                    The Beautiful Ones – 10/10
                                    Outside – 10/10

                                    Average - 9.6/10

                                    My thoughts on Butterfly:
                                    - Breakdown, Honey and The Roof are her best R&B tracks
                                    - The Beautiful Ones is her best cover
                                    - Whenever You Call is her best ballad (not counting Always Be My Baby as it is uptempo)
                                    - Her vocals are great here - restrained, but still strong and not raspy
                                    - Not too fond of Babydoll or Fly Away
                                    But the time went sailing by, reluctantly we said goodbye and left our secret place so far behind...


                                    • All I hate is that the dumbos dont know how hard it is to sing with airy whispers. Lazy whispers are those found in songs like Inseperable.

                                      my lousy cover of "Sway"


                                      • Mimi's best album IMO, along with Daydream and MIAM. I could listen to this album without getting bored. Butterfly, The Roof, Breakdown, and Close My Eyes would be among my all-time favorite Mariah songs.

                                        Butterfly, the song, alone >>>>
                                        DISCOGS | LAST.FM | INSTAGRAM


                                        • Outside.


                                          • Revised Discography:

                                            Mariah Carey 7,5/10
                                            Emotions 10/10
                                            Music Box 10/10
                                            Merry Christmas 10/10
                                            Daydream 8/10
                                            Butterfly 10/10
                                            Rainbow 7/10
                                            Glitter 7/10
                                            Charmbracelet 7,5/10
                                            The Emancipation of Mimi 7/10
                                            E=MC² 9/10
                                            Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel 5,5/10
                                            Merry Christmas II You 9/10
                                            Me. I am Mariah 10/10
                                            My Chart


                                            • This is one of the very few material I can tolerate from Mariah, I've listened most of her albums and this is IMO her best work, its a very calmed / relaxed, ethereal, elegant, smooth record, and the vocals were soft and hypnotizing at some points. The album is simply sublime.

                                              The tracks that impressed me the most were: "The Roof (Back in time)", "Breakdown" and "Close my eyes".

                                              Every artist has a magnus opus / masterpiece work, this is hers.
                                              Rock lives forever: Led Zeppelin . Metallica . Pink Floyd . Nirvana . Radiohead . Pearl Jam . Oasis . Iron Maiden . Nine Inch Nails
                                              Approved Popstars: Michael Jackson . Madonna . Britney Spears . Beyoncé . Rihanna


                                              • Breakdown is my song


                                                • Originally posted by MrLeonix
                                                  This is one of the very few material I can tolerate from Mariah.


                                                  • It's funny how almost everyone (me included) agrees that this is her best album, yet the ranking of the other albums differs so much.
                                                    For instance, for me Music Box would be my least favourite and Rainbow would be my 2nd best (and Charmbracelet higher than TEOM and MIAM).